Coronavirus crisis: Spanish government approves La Liga plan to test players before return to training

La Liga clubs will be able to test players for Covid-19 next week as a first step towards a return for football in Spain.

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  • La Liga is planning to start testing players for coronavirus next week
  • The process contains four stages which progressively take players from individual sessions
  • La Liga president Javier Tebas said not finishing the season would lead to collective losses of up to one billion euros

Spain’s sports ministry on Thursday approved La Liga’s plans for clubs to test their players for the coronavirus before they return to training as the league looks to restart the season in June after it was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Athletes in Spain have been forced to train at home since early March due to one of the strictest lockdowns in Europe, but Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced they are free to begin individual training at facilities from next Monday.

A meeting was held between the sport ministry and officials from La Liga, the Spanish football federation, the Spanish Footballers’ Association and top clubs such as Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid among others.

The ministry said medical staff at the clubs would be allowed to carry out the tests. Individual training is part of phase two of Spain’s de-escalation plan.

Phase three involves training in small groups of up to eight players while phase four refers to full group training which needs to last at least two weeks before action returns.

Top flight matches will not return until phase four is completed, with 11 rounds of La Liga and the Copa del Rey final yet to be played.

While France announced the end of their season with Paris St Germain being awarded the Ligue 1 title, all major sports institutions in Spain, including the government’s department for sport, have committed to completing the season.

La Liga president Javier Tebas said not finishing the season would lead to collective losses of up to one billion euros ($1.09 billion).

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